There can be a lot to get your head around when you take up vaping for the first time. From understanding how you use an e-cigarette device to learning how to mix shortfills, cutting through the industry jargon alone and learning the lingo may take a bit of time and patience.

One area that most beginners - especially those using e-liquids as a way to help quit smoking - want to learn about is how to ensure their vape juices contain suitable levels of nicotine to satisfy their cravings. This is where learning the difference between nic shots and nic salts becomes essential.

To make sure you know the difference between these two nicotine-infused e-liquids, and to help you choose the right type of booster for you, here at Just Juice we’ve put together this handy guide. Read on to find out everything you need to know about nic shots and salts.

What’s the difference between nic shots and nic salts?

Before exploring the specific differences between nic salts and shots, it’s first important to understand nicotine’s relationship with vaping and how e-liquids are infused with this natural substance.

As a rule, the majority of e-liquids sold in the UK are flavoured juices that contain no nicotine. This comes down to TPD EU regulations, which rules that only a maximum of 10ml of liquid nicotine can be sold, restricting the size of bottles. This means that if you wish to vape a nicotine-infused juice, in order to create an e-liquid which will fill your vaping device, you have to purchase a nicotine-free base liquid, usually known as a shortfill, and add 10ml of nicotine liquid separately. This can be done by adding a nicotine shot to the juice. Alternatively, you can choose to vape an unmixed nic salt in a pod device.

What is a nic shot?

Designed to be added to a nicotine-free shortfill, nic shots (or nicotine shots) are simply 10ml bottles of pure and unflavoured nicotine. They typically come in a range of strengths, from 3mg/ml to 20mg/ml, as well as different VG/PG (propylene glycol and vegetable glycerine) ingredient rations. Following the introduction of the Tobacco Products Directive law in 2017 - which limits pre-mixed vape juice to 10ml of nicotine - nic shots allow vapers to add their own nicotine to their chosen e-liquids without breaking the law.

Although unlikely to impact flavour, nic shots can sometimes feel quite harsh on your throat, particularly if you are using higher strength shots on a regular basis. However, it is important to note that shots are thought to be more potent than salts when heated.

What are nic salts?

As touched upon above, nic salts are flavourful nicotine injections which better mimic the form of nicotine naturally found in tobacco leaves. Designed to be vaped in a pod device (rather than a mod), salts are thought to be a more effective way to deliver nicotine to your bloodstream when compared with nic shots. This is because they are absorbed by the body more quickly than other nicotine liquid alternatives, meaning they are ideal for individuals who are fresh from quitting smoking as they can satisfy your cravings more quickly.

Unlike shots, nic salts use Salicylate or Benzo Acid to create a smoother vaping experience that is less harsh on the user’s throat. This gentler approach means that vapers can use a higher nicotine strength liquid, more regularly, without having to deal with an uncomfortable feeling in their throat. Unlike nic shots, salts are also available in a range of flavours, allowing you to create your own tasty blends without having to mix or steep your own juices.

Can you mix nic shots with nic salts?

To put it simply, while it is physically possible to safely mix nic shots with nic salts, it is not recommended and will likely create a juice that tastes bad.

Mixing is a big part of vaping. Mixing your favourite shortfill flavour with a nic shot strength of your choice to create a new, more layered flavoured juice and experimenting to find what works for you is just part of vaping life. However, when it comes to your chosen nicotine booster, it is best you never combine shots and salts.

The reason mixing these two types of nicotine together is such a bad idea comes down to their separate make-ups and how each breaks down as you vape. Nicotine shots are designed to be vaped at a higher wattage than salts, meaning mixing salts and shots can create a juice that your device’s heating coil vaporises at different rates. This will lead to an unbalanced mixture and an unpleasant taste.

Similarly, as these different sources of nicotine are made up of different VG/PG ratios, once mixed, the ratio of your entire juice will alter. This means, if you are usually used to large vape clouds (common with VG based e-juices), or thinner consistency juices (typically associated with PG majority liquids), mixing the nicotine boosters will likely ruin the ratio mix you have got used to, as well as spoil the flavour of your juice.